Jungle safari starts from Mahendri but tourist facilities not in place | Nagpur News

Nagpur: In a much needed move, the Forest Department has launched a 35km jungle safari route in the Mahendri Conservation Reserve (MCR) in the Warud Range below Amravati Circle.
Independent MP for Morshi Devendra Bhuyar, who opened the safari to mark World Environment Day, said: “I am in favor of turning the area into a sanctuary, provided the state government grants funds for its development. More funds are needed to boost wildlife tourism.
Amravati Honorary Wildlife Warden Sawan Deshmukh said, “In the current form, no tourists will visit Mahendri, and instead of doing good, it will hurt the initiative. Facilities such as safari vehicles, toilets and other civic amenities are lacking. So how will visitors come? »
Deshmukh also pointed out that except for a forest rest house on the hills adjacent to Mahendri, there are no hotels or residences nearby. “Those who want to stay will have to stop at Warud or Pandhurna, both 18 km from Mahendri,” he said.
Although the earlier choir grew to declare it a sanctuary, on September 13, 2021, the 68 sq km Mahendri Reserve Virgin Forest with rich flora and fauna was notified as the 15th Conservation Reserve (CR) of Maharashtra.
According to Amravati’s former honorary wildlife warden, Vishal Bansod, there are at least 10 villages on the outskirts of Mahendri and “locals can benefit from them if forestry officials give serious thought to reviving tourism”. “When tourism is tiger-centric, visitors will only come when wildlife sightings improve through habitat management,” he said.
Warud RFO Pushpalata Bende said: “Any tourism project takes time to start. Once visitors start arriving, locals will automatically benefit from direct and indirect tourism. We have created six artificial water points. There are also perennial water bodies. There are large carnivores like tigers and leopards in the forest but sighting them is rare. On the first day, herbivores were sighted. In Phase II, we plan to open a nature trail in the Shekhdari area of ​​the reserve. »
On opening day, the Forest Department had hired safari vehicles from Chikhaldara. There is only one service vehicle that is being repaired. There is no gate or ticket office on site. A counter was opened in Pandhari, 4 km from Mahendri.
A local leader Vijay Shrirao from Pusla, who is fighting to declare Mahendri a sanctuary, said: “It’s a win-win situation for wildlife and people. Once tourists start coming, the shortcomings can be fixed. I am very optimistic about tourism. It’s an orange belt and farmers can get hold of gypsies once tourism picks up.

Richard F. Gandhi